Loly’s Lasagna in the Patagonian Countryside

A 50-year old family recipe that's only made on special occasions

By Google Arts & Culture

Allie Lazar

Loly kitchen by Allie Lazar and Loly Cordero

Loly Cordero

Loly Cordero was born in 1946 and has lived her whole life in Aluminé. Her family came to Patagonia from Andalucía, Spain during the turn of the 20th century. When she retired as a school teacher nearly 20 years ago, she decided to devote her time to her other passion: cooking. 

La Estancia by Allie Lazar and Loly Cordero

Aluminé, Neuquén

Aluminé is a small town located in the Patagonian lake district, in the Neuquén province, and people come from all around the world for its fly fishing. Loly was one of the first people to bring rural tourism to the region, and converted her family’s farm and estate, known as Don Antuco or Estancia Llamuco, into a lodge for tourists to feel at home in the countryside. 

Loly's house by Allie Lazar and Loly Cordero

A Family Recipe

Loly began cooking at 11 years old and was designated as the cook of the family. Her recipes have been past down from generation to generation. Today she is cooking lasagna which an Italian cousin taught her how to make over 50 years ago. Loly says she only prepares it on special occasions. 

Salsa by Allie Lazar and Loly Cordero

The Tomato Sauce

Loly starts cooking her tuco (the sauce) the day before so the flavors can develop overnight. It has beef, onion, carrots, garlic, parsley, and oregano that Loly harvests from her garden. She adds homemade plum tomatoes that her brother-in-law jars.

Loly dough by Allie Lazar and Loly Cordero

The Dough

The pasta is made from scratch, using farm fresh eggs with a bright orange yolk, that gives a rich color to the dough. Loly doesn’t measure anything, it’s all by feel. 

Pastalinda by Allie Lazar and Loly Cordero

Pastalinda

“This is one of the first Pastalindas ever made in the country,” Loly says as she rolls the dough into very thin long layers. Pastalinda is a famous homemade pasta machine brand in Argentina.

Loly Frambuesas by Allie Lazar and Loly Cordero

Picking Fresh Raspberries

While the dough rests, Loly harvests raspberries from the garden. For dessert after the lasagna, she’s planning to make a raspberry sauce that will accompany her homemade ricotta cake.

Loly window by Allie Lazar and Loly Cordero

No Waste in the Countryside

“In the campo we use everything. Nothing goes to waste,” Loly says. She takes the extra dough from the lasagna to make noodles for lunch and improvises a sauce out of the leftovers from last night’s dinner. 

Loly noodles by Allie Lazar and Loly Cordero

Preparing the Lasagna

After the pasta has rested, Loly cooks the pasta in the boiling water for a few minutes and then quickly places it in cold water. Then, she carefully stretches it on a colander to dry. Meanwhile, she heats up the sauce.

Lolyqueso by Allie Lazar and Loly Cordero

Layers of Noodles, Sauce, Ham, and Cheese

Loly begins to assemble the lasagna. First, she adds sauce and then places the noodles on top. After, she places another layer of sauce, ham, cheese, and more noodles.

Loly lasagna by Allie Lazar and Loly Cordero

Lasagna Assemble

She repeats those steps until the casserole is full. She says she likes when the noodles are a bit wrinkled because it absorbs the sauce and toppings better. 

Loly foils by Allie Lazar and Loly Cordero

Prepare In Advance

She wraps the lasagna in aluminum foil and sticks it in the fridge until dinner. She likes to prepare the lasagna at least four hours in advance so that the flavors develop even more. 

Final lasagna by Allie Lazar and Loly Cordero

Cheese and Bake

About an hour before dinner, Loly places the lasagna in the oven. When it is ready and warm all the way through she adds more cheese on top and sticks it in the oven uncovered. 

Loly Ricotta Cake by Allie Lazar and Loly Cordero

Ricotta Cake and Raspberries

For dessert, Loly prepares her ricotta cake. She accompanies the cake with fresh raspberries from the garden and a homemade raspberry sauce. She likes the way the acid raspberries taste with the sweet sauce and creamy cake. 

Final Lasagna by Allie Lazar and Loly Cordero

Lasagna Made With Love

Loly cuts the lasagna very carefully so that it doesn’t fall apart. She adds more cheese and serves it to guests. "I get so much satisfaction preparing this dish. I hope it's delicious. I make it with a lot of love," she says.

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